Publications & Posters

Plasma neurofilament light is a predictor of neurological outcome 12 h after cardiac arrest

Critical Care | February 24, 2023

Levin, H., Lybeck, A., Frigyesi, A. et al.

Crit Care. 2023



Previous studies have reported high prognostic accuracy of circulating neurofilament light (NfL) at 24–72 h after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), but performance at earlier time points and after in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) is less investigated. We aimed to assess plasma NfL during the first 48 h after OHCA and IHCA to predict long-term outcomes.


Observational multicentre cohort study in adults admitted to intensive care after cardiac arrest. NfL was retrospectively analysed in plasma collected on admission to intensive care, 12 and 48 h after cardiac arrest. The outcome was assessed at two to six months using the Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) scale, where CPC 1–2 was considered a good outcome and CPC 3–5 a poor outcome. Predictive performance was measured with the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC).


Of 428 patients, 328 (77%) suffered OHCA and 100 (23%) IHCA. Poor outcome was found in 68% of OHCA and 55% of IHCA patients. The overall prognostic performance of NfL was excellent at 12 and 48 h after OHCA, with AUROCs of 0.93 and 0.97, respectively. The predictive ability was lower after IHCA than OHCA at 12 and 48 h, with AUROCs of 0.81 and 0.86 (p ≤ 0.03). AUROCs on admission were 0.77 and 0.67 after OHCA and IHCA, respectively. At 12 and 48 h after OHCA, high NfL levels predicted poor outcome at 95% specificity with 70 and 89% sensitivity, while low NfL levels predicted good outcome at 95% sensitivity with 71 and 74% specificity and negative predictive values of 86 and 88%.


The prognostic accuracy of NfL for predicting good and poor outcomes is excellent as early as 12 h after OHCA. NfL is less reliable for the prediction of outcome after IHCA.